No sour grapes for this Russian

Just two short years after his humiliating (and widely considered unfair) defeat by a chess-playing computer, world chess champion Garry Kasparov is back in the saddle. Exemplifying the old “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality, Kasparov is harnessing the power of the Internet to bring people together from all over the world for an online chess tournament that’s expected to last all summer.

The grandmaster will challenge a self-selected “world team,” guided by five young chess experts and comprising people of every skill level from all around the globe. Players will visit the Microsoft Network (MSN) Gaming Zone and vote on strategies to counter Kasparov’s moves.

Kasparov makes his opening move on Monday, June 21, and visitors to MSN will have 24 hours to vote for a countermove. Kasparov will respond with another move 24 hours later, and the game will continue with one move daily until there is a winner. Kasparov is clearly intrigued at the prospect of taking on the world, which he probably has a better chance of beating than a string of parallel processors.

“Since the birth of the Internet, which has significantly affected the game of chess, I have dream of this type of match,” he says. “No matter who you are or where you live, whether you’re a grandmaster or a casual player, technology gives you the opportunity to take part in the biggest chess event in history.”

Here’s hoping that Mr. Kasparov is right about this being “the biggest event in chess history.” Surely it will eclipse his defeat at the hands of scores of computer programmers